At Kanewai Spring in east Honolulu, Diane Paloma is leading her team in giving back to the community.
“The way we look at our environment and resources is the same way we want to manage our organizations in Hawaii,” said Paloma. “Finite resources in Hawaii, how do we maximize them for the benefit of the community?”
Paloma is the president and CEO of Hawaii Dental Service. She has enjoyed a career in healthcare and is also a hula practitioner.
“Right now, she’s teaching us Hawaiian values and how to incorporate that into our lives and our business. So much to learn — and we’re so grateful,” said Quin Ogawa, Hawaii Dental Service chief financial officer. “She’s a servant leader. She really cares about people. Just her whole body of work made me want to nominate her for Remarkable Women.”
Paloma is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and the University of California Los Angeles. She earned her master’s in business administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a doctorate in healthcare administration from Capella University in Minnesota.
“I did go away to school but immediately came back because I knew that I wanted to live and work in Hawaii,” said Ogawa.
Paloma was raising three young daughters her career and community work thriving when she received a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 40.
“There’s nothing like mortality to kick you in the butt and say okay, how am I going to make an impact on my community,” said Paloma.
Paloma believes early detection put her on the path to a full recovery. It has now been nine years since her diagnosis.
“Going through that journey also allowed me to be a little bit more bold,” said Paloma. “It was the impetus to me taking on a little bit more risk, having the ability to say ‘yes, having the ability to say no.'”
It is her family and her community that gives her life meaning.
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“Every individual, every mom has to think about how are they going to leave their legacy for their children, for their grandchildren, for the multitudes of generations to come,” said Paloma. “So that’s what drives me.”